Five localists arrested in subversion case

Top News | Michael Shum 7 May 2021

Five members of localist group Returning Valiant have been arrested on suspicion of subversion under the national security law over social media comments and banners advocating Hong Kong independence.

Police said the five - aged between 15 to 24 - are currently detained for alleged subversion, which carries up to a life sentence.

The localist group said legal assistance is being offered to the five.

The arrests were triggered by a burglary report after four youngsters allegedly broke into Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College in Tseung Kwan O, including two who came from the secondary school, on Wednesday night.

They were reported security personnel and police arrested the four at the scene. While searching their homes, officers found flags and banners advocating Hong Kong independence. Another three students - two males and a female - were arrested later.

Two students who broke into the school will be dealt with separately, according to police.

The mother of one of the arrested said around 10 national security officers arrived at their home at 6am yesterday and arrested her son for allegedly posting information online that breaches the security law on February 2.

Officers searched the apartment for around an hour and confiscated her son's phone, laptop, backpack, promotional leaflets as well as passport and identity card, before handcuffing her son and taking him away.

"They also only showed me the search warrant after going through the whole house," the mother said.

Returning Valiant consists of secondary school and university students who it describes as "glowing embers" of a revolution.

"Political suppression will not stop our footsteps, remaining members of the Returning Valiant will continue our work, and gather more talents to fight against tyranny," the group posted on Facebook yesterday.

Previously, the group advocated that "armed revolution is the only way out" for Hong Kong in its social media posts. It commented that Hongkongers have to be transformed - both mentally and physically - to be ready for the next fight against tyranny.

"Even if the group is destroyed by the totalitarian regime, the group will have completed its historical mission as long as these ideas spread across Hong Kong," it wrote on social media.

In an earlier media interview, the group said many of its members are involved in other court cases or have criminal records and so are already mentally prepared for the consequences of being outspoken with their radical beliefs.

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